Today is a very surreal day. Exactly one year ago I was told I had cancer—Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, stage 4. Stage 4. I didn’t know anything about Hodgkin’s. All I heard was ‘cancer’. What? At that very moment I went numb. I thought, this cannot be it. I know I’m not done. I’ve planned way too much. It’s not over. I felt so alone. I felt as if I couldn’t turn to anyone, knowing that there was no one who knew exactly how I felt at that exact moment.
I’ve been through a lot in my life, but this was different. Different due to the fact that it was so unpredictable. Unpredictability is a scary thing. ‘The unknown’. Scary stuff. Questions poured through my mind, and would. not. stop. I never asked them, because I was afraid what the answer was going to be. As he was telling me what I had, I just cried. A helpless cry. “Chemotherapy.” Me? I felt as if I was outside of my body watching.
I knew I had Hodgkin’s before the doctor told me. I heard the word tossed around when I was in ICU. Again, I never said anything, thinking that if I didn’t, it would magically go away. It didn’t. Having the doctor tell me woke me up from the dream state I was in: ‘The doctor went in and cleaned my lung out. I’m all good now. In three weeks or so I will heal and go back to Chapman. Hoooooray.’
Boy was I wrong! What a journey it has been. I’m not quite sure when exactly it was when my sadness turned into anger. This anger made me a fighter. I think it was seeing all of the love and support. The things I have been through have given me pretty tough skin. I sort of changed my mindset and treated this like one of my cranial facial surgeries (and the fifty thousand others. Ha!): ‘Just do what you gotta do.’ That helped me a lot. All I know is that I am going to do something amazing, even though I still have to figure it out. I’m not wasting this chance I was given.
This whole thing has changed me so much. How could it not? I look at life so much differently and honestly, I feel like the lucky one. I’m happy this has all happened to me. I wouldn’t change a thing. I appreciate everything so much more, knowing full well how easily it can be ripped away from me. I also see the other side much clearer like how people complain over the silliest things. Trust me, we all got it pretty darn good. We all have to smile more because we honestly have nothing to be sad about. Yes, I smile quite a lot. Now I know we’re all not perfect. I had my moments where I would just cry because I felt so sick and again, so alone. I bottle a lot inside, which I know is not good. This was the hardest thing I had to go through and I doubt that I will face anything that is more difficult. This whole thing has given me a strength that most are trying to find and obtain. This is one of the reasons why I call myself the lucky one.
There is only a few people who I would vent to and they would make me feel so much better. You know who you are, and I just cannot thank you enough. You all have an extra special place in my heart. I love you so much, and I hope you know that. As I said before, the support I have received has been overwhelming. I want to thank EVERYONE. Honestly, I could not have done it without you. I know I couldn’t have beaten this thing all by myself. I can’t take all the credit ;)
Let’s be real, I’m living a pretty wonderful life—I’m healthy and breathing: there’s not much more I could ask for!
Smile more. Hug more. And most importantly: Be happy! :)
Love always and forever,